This is a renewal application for a successful training program offering 2-3 year fellowships that prepare post- doctoral scientists for careers in interdisciplinary obesity research. Early career investigators enroll in a formal program tailored to individual interests aimed to promote development of independent research careers. Trainees are incorporated into the investigative programs of UAB's Nutrition Obesity Research Center, with one or more faculty members serving as mentors. The faculty's diverse disciplinary backgrounds (physicians, psychologists, statisticians, economists, physiologists, geneticists, epidemiologists, nutritionists, etc.) foster a team science approach;and strong collaborative ties among the faculty further facilitate this multidisciplinarity. Trainees have available techniques i cell culture, animal models, statistical methodology, molecular genetics, body composition, calorimetry, metabolic balance, nutritional assessment, stable isotope methodology, hormone and metabolite assays, hormone receptor biochemistry, and more. Trainees will be recent doctoral degree recipients in disciplines including (but not limited to) medicine, genetics, biochemistry, nutrition, psychology, physiology, statistics, epidemiology, or neuroscience. Individuals are selected based on demonstrated competence in graduate school, recommendations of their previous faculty, and the degree to which their interests fit with our Center's research programs. All trainees must have as a future plan an investigative career in obesity-related research. Each cooperating laboratory is well-equipped and funded to support trainees'research and scholarly development. Via a coordinated training program of research, interactive workshops, didactic seminars, and personal mentoring, we promote independent investigative skills and a rigorous scientific approach to research. Funds are provided to trainees to support travel for continuing education and consultation from experts on grant writing as part of their training. Regular reviews of individual trainees are completed by the training program directors to ensure adequate progress toward the development of an independent research career. Funding is requested for six post-doctoral trainee slots.
Obesity, a problem of enormous public health relevance, afflicts millions of American adults and children, decreases quality of life, impairs health, and shortens lifespan. Its causes remain incompletely understood and available treatment and prevention approaches leave much room for improvement. These facts underscore the importance of training new scholars and scientists to address this challenging problem.
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